A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2016-2017 (feature, part 5)

Last time, the world of Star Trek fan films was shaken to its core by a copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions in late December of 2015 followed by a call to Tommy Kraft of Star Trek: Horizon in April of 2016 telling him to shut down his new $250,000 Kickstarter for his sequel, Star Trek: Federation Rising.

And what of STAR TREK: RENEGADES?  In November, they had raised a very impressive $375,000 for their new continuing series.  Even though CBS had rejected their offer to make Renegades into a pilot for a new Trek TV series (and by now, Star Trek: Discovery had been announced), the Renegades team hadn’t been told to stop.  So it was full steam ahead with plans to use the existing sets and CGI models and props to make an ambitious TWELVE half-hour webisodes per year (yes, per year…that was the plan), beginning with a two-parter called “The Requiem.”  It would feature both Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Walter Koenig playing Chekov for one final swan song.

Although Trek fan filmmakers were feeling very uncertain (and downright nervous) at the moment—with the Axanar lawsuit dragging on for months and mixed messages coming from JJ Abrams and the studios themselves—the show must go on, as they say.  And so Star Trek: Renegades scheduled the first day of filming on “The Requiem” for June 22, 2016.

The initial scenes on day one were all green screen, featuring Nichelle and Walter, Tim Russ as Tuvok in full Vulcan make-up, and even Cirroc Lofton reprising his role as Jake Sisko.  The production would also feature other veteran Trek actors reprising their roles, including Terry Farrel as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), Robert Beltran as Chakotay, Aron Eisenberg as Nog, and even Hana Hatae as a grown-up Molly O’Brien!  The sets were built, the costumes made, the studio rented…it was time to make an awesome new fan series!

And then the guidelines happened…

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2015-2016 (feature, part 4)

Last time, it had been a long road for STAR TREK: RENEGADES… getting from there to here.  “There” was a an idea back in 2006, on the last day of filming Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, of a “Star Trek meets The Dirty Dozen” fan series concept…maybe even a pilot to pitch to CBS!  And “here” was the Crest Theater in Westwood, August 1, 2015, for the red carpet premiere of a 90-minute, $400,000 Star Trek “fan” film with veteran actors and professionals working alongside amateurs and novices…all for the love and passion of a sci-fi franchise that hadn’t seen a new television episode in more than a decade!

In between were three different crowd-funding campaigns, many months of pre-production, two weeks of studio shooting with 61 actors and a total crew of 170, nearly two years of post production, and 637 different visual effects shots.  And it all led to this moment with a movie marquis on Westwood Blvd. in Los Angeles that read:

SKY CONWAY PRESENTS
STAR TREK RENEGADES

There were two showings, each with a limited number of tickets available (the theater only seats 460, and there were cast members and crew in attendance, as well).  The Renegades team made 325 tickets available to donors and the general public for the first showing at 4:30 pm for $20 each (and that’s when I made my first donation to the project).  And thanks to a friend of mine who worked on the production, I was able to get in again for the second 7:30 pm showing that was intended to be exclusively for cast, crew, and the media.

It was quite the happening!  The first showing was mainly fans, many in costume.  But after the theater was cleared from that audience, the red carpet and “runway” background were set up, the Paparazzi began to assemble (seriously, there were more than a dozen of them…including me!), and the limousines started arriving.  Yes, there were limousines.

Nichelle Nichols (who came to support her friend Walter Koenig), Adrienne Wilkinson, and Robert Picardo arrive on the red carpet for the premiere.

Wanna see what it looked like inside?

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2014-2015 (feature, part 3)

Last time, eight years after first being conceived in 2006 on the final day of shooting Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, the dream of STAR TREK: RENEGADES was nearly complete.  Two crowd-funding campaigns had provided the producers with $375,000 to spend (minus fees, perk production, and mailing costs).  All of the footage was shot (directed by Tim “Tuvok” Russ) in October of 2013, the final “locked picture” edit had been approved in April of 2014, and now it was time for music, sound, and visual effects (VFX).

Unfortunately, the money was now all used up, and the VFX were going to be significantly more expensive than they thought…like tens of thousands of dollars more!

Was Renegades ready for a THIRD crowd-funding campaign???

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2012-2014 (feature, part 2)

Last time, we took a look at the origins of the “mega” Trek fan film STAR TREK: RENEGADES, created by the same people who produced the first “mega” Trek fan film, STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN back in 2006-2008.  (You can read more about that earlier project in this blog entry.)

I say “mega” for a few reasons.  First, each production would wind up with a run-time of about 90-minutes, way longer than the vast majority of other Trek fan films.  Second, these were a professionally-produced “fan” films with industry veterans and a slew of Hollywood actors, some of whom were reprising their roles from various Paramount-produced Star Trek series and movies.  And finally, each had a budget in the six-figures.  At the time, most Trek fan films were low-budget or, at most, made it into the four-or-five-figure range.  But when you were spending more than a hundred thousand dollars (potentially a LOT more), well, that spells “mega” to me!

Of course, if you want to spend six figures, you need to first generate six figures…and back in 2012, no Star Trek crowd-funding campaign had managed to break above the low four-figure range.

But Star Trek: Renegades set out to change that reality in a BIG way.  In late September of that year, they launched a Kickstarter with a seemingly impossible goal: $200,000.  And if they didn’t reach it, they would get nothing…

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I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)

My life isn’t usually all that interesting or exciting…at least, not all in one week.  But what a week it was!

(Actually, it was only really exciting if you happen to be a Trekkie interested in fan films.  If you’re my wife, it’s more like, “That’s nice, honey.  I’m glad you had such a good time.  Did you remember to empty the dishwasher?”

And that’s why I’m writing this blog—because I have now emptied the dishwasher, and I really want to tell you guys about the fan film filled week I just had…because you care, right?  (Aw don’t answer that; it’ll just kill my buzz.)

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2006-2012 (feature, part 1)

RENEGADES: THE SERIES just hosted a movie theater premiere in North Hollywood, California for their first full one-hour episode, “The Requiem.”  But before there was Renegades: The Series, there was STAR TREK: RENEGADES, one of the largest, most ambitious fan film projects ever attempted.

Nearly four hundred thousand dollars in crowd-funding, multiple Star Trek veteran actors reprising their roles from the various TV series, paid industry professionals on both sides of the camera, two years in the making, enthusiastic plans to present this to CBS as a potential pilot for a new Star Trek TV series, and even a gala Los Angeles red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theater in Westwood.

Looked at through the hindsight lens of the constraining limitations of the post-guidelines reality we now live in, it’s hard to imagine that something like STAR TREK: RENEGADES could even have been attempted, let alone successfully completed and released with such fanfare.  How on earth (or in space) did they manage it?

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RENEGADES hosts a North Hollywood THEATER PREMIERE of “THE REQUIEM”!

Over a half million dollars.  Multiple crowd-funding campaigns.  Walter Koenig.  Nichelle Nichols.  Tim Russ.  Elaborately constructed sets.  Props.  Art design.  Lighting.  Make-up.  Broken air-conditioning in the studios.  Countless aliens in hot rubber masks.  A year in post-production.  Amazing visual FX.  Incredible music.  And those damn guidelines from CBS and Paramount that forced Star Trek: Renegades to evolve into RENEGADES: THE SERIES.

And then last night, at 7:30 in the Laemlee Theater in North Hollywood, CA, the moment we’d all been waiting for.  “The Requiem” was shown for the first time as a full-hour fan film on the big screen in front of an audience of hundreds of fans, actors, production crew, family, friends, and donors…and at least one blogger who crawled through L.A. rush hour traffic for 75 minutes to get there!

The inside of the theater looked like this…

Before the screening, actors posed for photos with fans who’d donated a little extra…

Aron Eisenberg, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, Jason Quinell (donor), Walter Koenig, and Manu Intiraymi

And then it was time to start the film.  Things were running a little late, so producer SKY CONWAY’s opening introduction was simply, “Let’s start this thing!”

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STAR TREK: RENEGADES confirms veteran Trek actors will be part of their cast!

Renegades actorsAfter last week’s announcement confirming that Nichelle Nichols had joined the cast of Star Trek: Renegades to reprise her iconic role of Nyota Uhura, the production confirmed that actor Alan Ruck would also be reprising his role of John Harriman, captain of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701B, from Star Trek Generations.  Ruck previously played Harriman in the fan film Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.  Ruck is also well known for playing the role of Cameron Frye in the 1980’s hit movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and also as a regular on the long-running TV series Spin City (although reading his IMDb page is like looking at the phone book!).

Renegades executive producer Sky Conway also confirmed that Terry Farrell would be appearing in their two-part finale episode “The Requiem,” reprising her role of Jadzia.  This has left fans scratching their heads, as it was widely assumed at the end of DS9‘s sixth season that the Jadzia host died and the Dax symbiont was transplanted into Ezri (otherwise, one might have thought Worf would be at Jadzia’s bedside constantly as she recovered).  However, it’s worth noting that Sky Conway’s announcement did say simply “Jadzia” and not “Jadzia Dax.”  It’s also possible that Jadzia might be seen in some kind of flashback.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

And finally, Conway also confirmed that Renegades lead Adrienne Wilkinson will be returning to her role of Lexxa in the “Requiem” two-parter.  These actors will be joining other Star Trek veterans like Tim “Tuvok” Russ, Cirroc “Jake Sisko” Lofton, and of course, Walter “Pavel Chekov” Koenig in his farewell appearance as Chekov.

For more information about Star Trek: Renegades or to donate to their ambitious production, visit their website.